Seat of the week: Curtin

Despite bearing the name of one of Labor’s greatest heroes, and covering his old home turf of Cottesloe, the Perth seat of Curtin is blue in tooth and claw. Julie Bishop has held the seat since she unseated a conservative independent in 1998.

Blue and red numbers respectively indicate booths with two-party majorities for the Liberal and Labor parties. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

Julie Bishop’s seat of Curtin covers Perth’s most affluent and Liberal-friendly areas, from Mosman Park and Cottesloe north along the coast to the southern part of Scarborough, and along the northern shore of the Swan River through the prestige suburbs of Peppermint Grove and Dalkeith. An area of relative Labor strength is provided by the area immediately west of the city. The electorate was created with the expansion of parliament in 1949, prior to which the Perth metropolitan area had been divided in highly variable fashion between Perth and Fremantle, with each consistently accounting for some of the area of modern Curtin. Curtin was originally limited to Perth’s inner west, with Fremantle continuing to extend up the coast as far as City Beach, before acquiring its coastal orientation with the redistribution of 1955. Fremantle was thereafter concentrated more to the south of the river, although its present northern limit at the suburban boundary of North Fremantle and Mosman Park was not established until 1984.

Despite bearing the name of a Labor Party legend, Curtin has been a blue-ribbon Liberal seat since its creation, being held first by prime ministerial contender and future Governor-General Paul Hasluck, and then by Victor Garland, a minister in the McMahon and Fraser governments. Garland’s resignation in early 1981 led to a preselection brawl in which the then Premier, Sir Charles Court, marshaled forces behind Allan Rocher to thwart Fred Chaney’s ambition to move from the Senate to the House, which he would eventually realise when he became member for Pearce in 1990. Rocher was defeated for preselection ahead of the 1996 election by Ken Court, son of the aforementioned Charles and brother of Richard, who was then Premier. This greatly displeased the newly reinstalled federal Liberal leader, John Howard, who did little to assist Court’s election campaign or to dispel the conception that he owed his preselection to controversial party powerbroker Noel Crichton-Browne. Rocher was thus easily able to retain his seat as an independent on Labor preferences, while a similar story played out in the northern suburbs seat of Moore.

Curtin returned to the Liberal fold in 1998 when Rocher was defeated by a new Liberal candidate, Julie Bishop, who had previously been a managing partner at law firm Clayton Utz. Bishop’s early career progress within the Howard government was reckoned to have been constrained by her ties to Peter Costello, and in the wake of the Coalition’s 2001 state election defeat she signed on to an abortive scheme to move into state politics to succeed Richard Court as Liberal leader. She eventually won promotion to Ageing Minister in 2003, and attained cabinet rank as Education, Science and Training Minister in January 2006. Reflecting the continuing strong performance of the party’s Western Australian branch, she was elevated to the deputy leadership in the wake of the 2007 election defeat. Her success in maintaining that position under three leaders reportedly led internal critics to dub her “the cockroach”, although dissatisfaction with her performance as Shadow Treasurer caused her to be reassigned to foreign affairs in January 2009. She retained the portfolio throughout the remaining years in opposition, further serving in the shadow portfolio of trade after the 2010 election, and was confirmed as Foreign Minister with the election of the Abbott government in September 2013.

UPDATE: Channel Seven has reported the ReachTEL poll conducted on Thursday night found only 28% believe the government’s new policies to stop boat arrivals were working versus 49% who don’t, while 56% say the government should announce boat arrivals when they happen. Last night it was reported that 53% think the Prime Minister should deliver the explanation for spying activities demanded by Indonesia, while 34% say he shouldn’t; and that 38% support Australia’s bugging activities with 39% opposed. It appears Channel Seven are sitting on voting intention numbers.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

1,517 comments on “Seat of the week: Curtin”

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  1. [CTar1
    Posted Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 9:43 pm | PERMALINK
    rummel could go past in the fire truck chucking out bars of soap.]

    I don’t understand the soap thing.

  2. I have just read the little interchange between our host and the prevalent and prolific “ST” regarding the ABC and the publication of the Snowden stuff.

    For some time I have watched/scrolled past this poster and what strikes me is the inconsistency of the content of the postings.

    Whereas many/most posters have a kind of signature style, this poster is barely literate at times – with more than a fair share of mistakes in English/punctuation/syntax. But at other times, something else happens.

    I note at ST@1432 the second sentence is composed of 43 words in relatively sophisticated English. This does not smack of some sad and lonely looney who, at other times, seems to write at below Year 6 level.

    Not having one shred of evidence other than this, I just wonder if this poster is, in fact, one of many people, contributing on some kind of roster basis?

    The reasons behind such an approach to this site I can only speculate about – if, in fact, I am not totally in error.

    If so I am more than happy to apologise and just put the poster down to being a mixed up idiot.

  3. Diog 1492 As a migrant, I happily support every Oz sporting team, bar one, the Australian cricket team. The incident you describe sums up why. They kinda remind me of Abbott.

  4. Tricot

    Interesting, true many here do have their own styles but as someone that on occasions has fallen for mass typoities (yes that is a made up word)

    Its possible that he/she has areas of knowledge which enable them to write in ore detail although what i have noticed with Sean is there have been occasions when he/she will be challenged then disappear or will post comments completely unrelated to the issues being discussed.

  5. [1024
    Posted Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 12:26 pm | PERMALINK

    There doesn’t seem to be a Barmy Army here this time. A sign of the economic woes in England perhaps?]

    Oh god, yes there is. I heard and saw them singing ‘Jerusalem’ yesterday, and you hear their Barmy Army chant and their trumpet from time to time. They were a lot quieter today. 😉

  6. Tricot

    [I just wonder if this poster is, in fact, one of many people, contributing on some kind of roster basis?]

    That’s been my working assumption for some time.

  7. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    Well who would have thought!! Mark Kenny dissects Abbott’s shit sandwich. He describes the Neilson result as “a rapid recovery for the ALP”. But we know better why it happened, don’t we?
    Michael Gordon sums it up better.
    Another Howard has-been spruiks crap.
    If Mark Kenny and his journo mates did their job and told the punters what the term “carbon tax” really means in relation to its ETS basis the country would be a whole lot better informed.
    And what will our UN stance be on the Iran nuke agreement?
    And the true figures start to emerge.

  8. Section 2 . . .

    Alan Moir is back from a week’s absence to show that the aggressive Popeye is alive and punching.
    Andrew Dyson with an alternative view of the what the term “digital divide” means.
    Cathy Wilcox on the nuances of spying.
    Pat Campbell with a cracker on Abbott’s character.
    MUST SEE! Ron Tandberg gives it to Abbott on Fraudband.
    David Rowe in Tehran.

  9. Boerwar – not sure if you saw my post re Cimahi addressed to you at 1459 of the previous thread.

    Enjoy your day.

    Work for me now!!

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